Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Drug-Impaired Driving in California

In California, the law defines drug-impaired driving as operating a vehicle while under the influence of any substance, excluding alcohol, that significantly impairs your muscles, brain, or nervous system. This definition includes a wide range of substances, from illegal drugs like methamphetamine and heroin to legal medications such as marijuana, over-the-counter cold medicines, antihistamines, and even prescription drugs that don’t necessarily cause intoxication. California Vehicle Code 23152(f) explicitly prohibits driving under the influence of drugs, and Vehicle Code 23152(g) extends this prohibition to driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol. Notably, California doesn’t set a legal limit for drug concentration in the bloodstream, meaning any detectable amount can lead to DUI charges.

The Arrest and Investigation Process for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

A DUI with drugs investigation often starts with a traffic stop if an officer suspects impairment. The officer will observe for physical symptoms of drug use and may call for a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) to conduct a more detailed assessment. It’s crucial to know that you have the right to remain silent under the Fifth Amendment during this process. Before an arrest, there is no obligation to submit to a chemical test, and refusing does not carry penalties However, under California’s “implied consent” law, refusing a chemical test after a lawful arrest can result in enhanced penalties.

Trial Proceedings and Prosecution Requirements

In a trial for DUI with drugs, the arresting officer’s testimony about your driving behavior and physical signs of intoxication plays a critical role. If a breathalyzer test shows negative results for alcohol, this can further suggest drug impairment. The DRE’s testimony, based on their training and evaluation, is often pivotal in establishing the type of drug causing impairment. Additionally, blood test results showing the presence of drugs in your system are used, though these alone don’t prove impairment. The prosecution must demonstrate that you were driving under the influence and that the drug significantly impaired your driving ability.

Penalties and Consequences for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs in California

Penalties for DUI with drugs in California vary based on the specifics of the case, such as prior offenses. They can range from jail time, fines, and license suspension for first-time offenders to more severe consequences for repeated offenses or cases involving injury or death. Beyond legal penalties, a DUI with drugs conviction can lead to long-term impacts like a criminal record, affecting employment and housing opportunities, increased insurance premiums, and the potential loss of a commercial driver’s license.

Defending Against DUI with Drugs Charges

In California, defending against DUI with drugs charges often involves challenging the legality of the traffic stop and arrest procedures. Any procedural errors can significantly impact the case. Additionally, questioning the accuracy of blood sample handling and analysis is crucial, as errors here can affect the reliability of evidence. Recognizing individual differences in how drugs affect people is also key, as the presence of drugs doesn’t always mean impairment. A focused defense in these cases requires a sharp understanding of both legal and scientific details.

Seek Expert Legal Representation for DUI with Drugs Charges in California

If you’re facing DUI with drugs charges in Los Angeles, Attorney Arash Hashemi provides aggressive legal representation to defend your rights. With over 20 years of experience in handling complex DUI cases, Attorney Hashemi offers strong and focused defense strategies, customized to meet the specific needs of your case. For dedicated legal support in these challenging cases, contact The Law Offices of Arash Hashemi at (310) 870-2727 or schedule a consultation today. Located at the Westside Towers, 11845 W Olympic Blvd #520, our team is prepared to provide the strong advocacy you need to navigate the intricacies of DUI with drugs charges in California.

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Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or a prediction of outcomes, as individual circumstances vary and laws may change over time. Those contemplating legal action should seek advice from a qualified attorney to understand how current laws apply to their specific situation. For detailed legal guidance on the topics discussed, please reach out to the author directly.

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